For the low price of only $15 (or 1200 Microsoft points or about 50% more than you paid for the last two ME3 DLCs), you can purchase the latest Mass Effect 3 DLC called Omega. In this DLC, Commander Shepard joins forces with Aria to take back the Omega space station. When BioWare first announced this DLC, they only talked about how the DLC would be twice as long as any other ME3 DLC. In the run up to release, more details were announced. We analyse those details and preview the DLC after the jump.
Spoiler Alert: There will be some spoilers for the Omega DLC. Consider yourself warned.
If you went to the Purgatory night club on the Citadel and spoke with Aria, you know the start of the story. Aria was forced off of Omega by Cerberus forces and relocated to the Citadel. She was going to take back Omega but first she needed you (as Shepard) to convince Omega’s main mercenary occupants (the Blood Pack, Eclipse and Blue Suns) to work for her to make it happen. You united the mercenaries and that was that… Until now.
As we expected, when you go back to Omega, Aria comes along with you and is a squadmate for this series of missions. I mentioned back in October when the DLC was first officially confirmed, that early development of the game showed Aria as a squadmate while the game’s script included an Omega level which would have likely been a mission to retake Omega.
BioWare referred to revisiting Omega and bringing back Aria as fan service in an interview. That’s not where they stopped listening to fans. They also confirmed that Omega would include the first appearance of a female Turian character in a Mass Effect game. Players know through logic and talking to Garrus Vakarian that female Turians existed. Now, we get to see one in a game rather than just in the Mass Effect comics (assuming you read them).
This new character, named Nyreen, lives on Omega and has a history with Aria, though exactly what the history is hasn’t been disclosed. Nyreen’s developer-leaked back story also says she was formerly with the Turian military and has biotic powers. She’s also going to join you and Aria as a temporary squadmate for the DLC. So with Aria and Nyreen fighting alongside you, that means that your usual crew isn’t coming back. That’s not much of a surprise because the Mass Effect 2 DLCs didn’t have much in the way of new or any lines from your regular squadmates.
Speaking of biotic powers, BioWare is introducing one new power to the game and bringing two over from multiplayer. Aria’s three powers are carnage, lash (a biotic pulling power introduced in multiplayer) and flare which BioWare describes as a biotic explosion. Nyreen is confirmed to have overload, incinerate and a new power called “Biotic Protector.” Its appearance in BioWare’s live-streamed gameplay of Omega show that it’s similar to the Biotic Sphere used by the Asari Justicar in multiplayer.
Two new enemy units are being introduced with this DLC. The new Rampant Mech which BioWare describes as a crowd-control mech is the first one we meet. Leaked gameplay also shows it with tech armor and burning up after it dies which damages Shepard if he runs into a dead Rampant. This seems to be the single player version of the Dragoon as it rushes you and tries to melee attack you in order to drive you out of cover. We also get the game introduction of an enemy originally introduced in the comics but cut from the game in the form of the Adjutants. BioWare described these as Ceberus-manipulated Reaper tech based enemies. The Mass Effect comics indicate they were part of the initial Cerberus invasion of Omega.
Comic images of the Adjutant would indicate they are Reaper units. The question is if their introduction in Omega means that we’ll see an appearance by the Reapers. It was rumoured that the Collectors’ introduction into multiplayer meant that they were likely developed as part of work on the Omega DLC. It’s possible that Cerberus, the Reapers and the Collectors are all involved in this DLC in some capacity or another. That’s just speculation but there is enough smoke that people believe there’s fire. To put it another way, the denizens of the interweb think there is a possibility that we could see another enemy group show up. I doubt that would happen but one never know what tricks BioWare has up its sleeve until you play Omega.
Slightly less interesting are the new weapons introduced with this DLC. The N7 Valkyrie assault rifle and Chakram Launcher assault rifle are introduced. The Valkyrie is a semi-automatic AR, similar to the Mattock assault rifle. The Chakram is an assault rifle with exploding rounds, similar to the Krysae Sniper Rifle but with a charge-up mechanic prior to firing.
For the sake of a more technical comparison, Omega will be the largest Mass Effect 3 DLC based on file size as well as length of time to play. On the Xbox 360, Omega’s file size is 1.99 GB. The other two DLCs were both smaller but not by as much as you would expect. The Extended Cut DLC was 1.85 GB for an extra 20 or so minutes of extra content. Leviathan was the previous longest ME3 DLC in length but was only 1.65 GB in size. I’m no programmer but I’m not sure how an extra 20% of file content over Leviathan translates to 100% more playing time than Leviathan. I’m assuming that has mostly to do with the variety of assets that had to be built for the various locations in Leviathan where as Omega will be entirely on the space station which would lower the number of different assets required.
As this is just a preview, I haven’t played the DLC yet. Therefore, I can’t tell you if Omega is worth the higher price tag until my review (which you can expect in a week or so). BioWare says it’s about four hours in terms of gameplay which brings it in under my initial six-hour length estimate which makes me leery of the value-for-money. Worse still is CVG saying their hands-on preview didn’t indicate any new gameplay elements apart from the new enemy units and powers. The BioWare demo showed that the target objective from multiplayer does make an appearance at one point. That’s not a new gameplay element for ME3 but it is new for single player.
For now, Omega is trying to be Mass Effect 3’s equivalent to Lair of the Shadow Broker. A massive DLC that’s in the discussion for year-end awards for the best DLC. However, LotSB was a very plot-heavy DLC with a character that was far more important to the series than Aria is. To justify that $15 price, Omega needs to have some gameplay surprises in store and a superb story that we don’t know about yet.
Mass Effect 3 Official Site – Mass Effect 3: Omega
NeoGAF Forum – Mass Effect 3: Omega DLC Size
Twitch.tv/BioWare – Mass Effect 3 – Omega DLC Live Stream
VG24/7 – Mass Effect 3 Omega: the revolution starts here
The Mass Effect 3 Controversy: What Went Wrong And Why It’s Not Entitlement
Mass Effect 3 Omega: How Much Is Too Much For DLC?
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